Virgin moves into original kids commissioning

Sarah AspinallChildren’s Media Conference: UK pay TV platform Virgin Media is planning to commission kids television content for its on-demand service for the first time.

Virgin Media kids and music editor Sarah Aspinall told delegates the move came after a recognition “of the value of children’s content”.

In a panel session hosted by TBI, Aspinall said Liberty Global-owned Virgin was “dipping toes” into original commissioning and did not have a prescribed budget. However, it does have funds for suitable projects.

Referring to the BBC’s announcement of significant new investment in kids TV, Aspinall said: “Do I have £34 million [US$44 million] to spend over the next three years? No. What we do have is an opportunity to get some projects off the ground, be it with our friends at Viacom, Turner or Disney, or someone in a garage.

The move comes after Virgin made its first commissions last year through a series of comedy shorts, as TBI revealed at the time.

Virgin TV’s kids TV app is launching imminently, according to a TBI source, and commissioned programming will make up part of this.

Virgin has pushed into kids TV after hiring former BT and Azoomee executive Aspinall at the end of last year.

She told delegates she has since acquired more than 3,000 hours for Virgin’s on-demand service, which is offered to its pay TV service.

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